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What happens if I’m caught lying to the police?

Lying to the police is a serious criminal offense in Wisconsin.

What do you do when the police approach you for questioning?  Certainly lying to the police is a bad idea.  But sometimes suspects are scared.  Sometimes they don’t know what to do.  And sometimes, of course, police lie to them and coerce them into providing statements.

No matter what, do not lie to the police.  By lying to police, you’re committing a crime.  Even if you’re guilty of the underlying offense, the additional charges don’t help your situation.

As always, if police confront you regarding commission of a crime, contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. immediately.  Our dedicated staff of criminal defense attorneys stands prepared to guide you in the correct direction.  Call us at (414) 270-0202 immediately.


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And what happens if I lie to the police?

As we previously discussed, you’ve committed a crime.  It’s called obstructing an officer, and it’s punishable by up to 9 months in jail, a $10,000.00 fine, or both.  Section 946.41 of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits obstructing an officer.  Section 946.41 reads:

… whoever knowingly resists or obstructs an officer while such officer is doing any act in an official capacity and with lawful authority is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

Obstruct” includes without limitation knowingly giving false information to the officer or knowingly placing physical evidence with intent to mislead the officer in the performance of his or her duty including the service of summons or civil process.  Wis. Stat. sec. 946.41(2)(a).

Officer” means a peace officer or other public officer or public employee having the authority by virtue of the officer’s or employee’s office or employment to take another into custody.  Wis Stat. sec. 946.41(2)(b).

Certainly the prospect of 9 months in jail and a $10,000.00 in jail should encourage you to tell the truth.  But, does that mean you should talk?  Absolutely not.


You shouldn’t speak to the police without an attorney involved.

Again – you should not speak to the police unless you have an attorney.  That attorney should be with you.  And you shouldn’t give police anything but biographical information without that attorney.

The third time – and this is important – don’t talk to the cops without an attorney.

Why’d we repeat that three times?  As criminal defense attorneys, we’ve had dozens of clients who talked their way into charges.  Not out of charges – that only occurs in exceptionally rare circumstances.  But into charges.  At the very least, upon questioning, the police will be able to place you at the scene.

A man lies to police while in custody.
Lying to the police is a misdemeanor criminal offense in Wisconsin. Don’t talk to the cops without an attorney.

Why can I refuse to speak with police?

You have a constitutional right to silence.  While the “right to remain” silent is well-known to anyone who watches movies or TV shows, it also has true, real-life application.  The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals from being compelled to give testimony that could incriminate them.  It’s our opinion that you absolutely exercise your right to silence.  Certainly if you’d still like to provide a statement to the cops, we can accompany you to the interview.


Contact a top criminal defense attorney regarding your case

Hopefully this brief blog post provides you important information regarding why you shouldn’t lie to the police.  Certainly if you have additional questions regarding your criminal case, give us a call.  Our criminal defense attorneys are available 24/7 and can help you through difficult criminal situations.

Finally, call Meyer Van Severen, S.C. at (414) 270-0202 today regarding your charges.